By Philip Sherrard
What was once the Byzantine Empire? What used to be ita position in background, and what used to be it that made it a old unit? it truly is with this empire, nice either as a political organism and as a synthesizer and preserver of tradition, that this booklet explores. even though the therapy of the topic by way of the writer is slightly common, the stimulating sort during which he writes, mixed with the attention-grabbing illustrations should still result in additional research by way of the reader
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Throne— sought all dominate both His interest in the Church, his monasticism, and his were and successors on to work, own promotion of his concern for theology genuine. But for him the state, as a sacred instrument for forging a Christian was what Roman empire, really counted. This meant in practical terms that for Justinian and religious unity same state unity were one and the Although Christianity had been de- thing. clared the state religion, remnants of paganism had lingered on. Seeking to eradicate them, Justinian closed last down the university at Athens, paganism's stronghold.
Only when he reached the Bosporus did Byzas what realize the Oracle meant: on the Asiatic shore, opposite the hill-tipped, tri- angular peninsula that terminated the European land mass, founded Greek colonists had already earlier a city, Chalcedon. have been blind not It was they who must have noticed the obvious to away superiority of the site lying half a mile or so on the opposite shore. founded his own him. Byzantium Rome, but ple, city, was Great made tine the on it later it it was here which took to The name from called it New as Constantino- name was modern appellation to live of the im- which Constantine established.
A great with the Virgin many were speMary, who was considered to be the city's special protectress. would not ing, find "You any public place or imperial dwell- no reputable inn or private house of those in authority where there was not a church or an oratory of the Mother of God," it was later said by a student of the period. In a church at the northwest 34 lay her a host of miracles. many sieges the and icons of the Virgin when Russians in 860, the city was deprived of all siege. "Truly," a contemporary witness, the Patriarch porphyry carved with encircling up Mary and battlements, and the Russians abandoned the column.